Netflix and other Internet providers are changing how distributors, networks, and producers are approaching television. Now, more than ever, producers and networks have access to data on potential viewers, and ardent fan bases are also more able to mobilize in order to support or promote a favorite show. Perhaps more so than ever, reboots and revivals of beloved television shows have been proven to be popular and lucrative endeavors.
All of the entries on this list are television series that are currently in development or in production. Revived shows that have already aired, such as The X-Files (1993), were not included. Likewise, shows that we wish were in development, like Firefly (2002), are also not included. Additionally, these are all previous television series that are being made into new television series; television series based on films and films based on television series were not included.
Rising out of the graveyard of dead shows like the legions of the walking dead, here are 12 TV Revivals We’re Looking Forward To:
Macgyver (1985) was one of the most popular shows in the 1980s, and today is considered a classic piece of television. The show chronicled the adventures of Agent Angus Macgyver (Richard Dean Anderson), who worked for the United States government in the Department of External Services. Macgyver is a scientist by training and used his Swiss Army knife in order to create devices and solutions to problems using everyday objects. This process is so closely associated with his character that his name is used as a verb to describe creatively using everyday objects in order to fix something.
In February, CBS ordered a Macgyver reboot, which is set to star Lucas Till (perhaps best known for playing Havok in the most recent set of X-Men movies) as the eponymous lead. A release date for the series has not yet been announced.
11. Xena: Warrior Princess
Lucy Lawless starred in Xena: Warrior Princess (1995), as a kickass Amazonian warrior in a mythic version of ancient Greece. The show and the character both have a cult following, and its popularity generated multiple spinoffs in a variety of mediums, including comic books, novels, movies, and video games.
The Xena reboot began as a rumor, but was confirmed last year. One producer has already stated that the revived reversion of the show will explore Xena’s sexuality as a queer woman more explicitly than the show’s nineties incarnation, and the reboot’s creator echoed such sentiments. It has not been determined if Lucy Lawless will reprise her role as Xena in the new television show, but we have to imagine she’ll at least cameo at some point.
10. Prison Break
Prison Break (2005) tells the story of two brothers. The first brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), is wrongly convicted of murder and sent to death row. His brother, Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) wants to help his brother escape from prison and clear his name; Michael commits a crime so that he will be put into the same prison as his brother, and the two work together to escape.
The reboot of Prison Break, which will also air on Fox, has begun filming, although its air date is yet to be determined. Not only are both Purcell and Miller returning to their roles of Lincoln and Michael, but Purcell has discussed that they played a central role in advocating for and reviving the show.
No word yet on what Miller’s involvement with this series will mean for his role as Captain Cold in the CW series, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Each season of 24 (2001) traces the actions of Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) of the Counter Terrorist Unit over the course of a single day. In each of the eight seasons, a mini-series, and a made for television movie, Bauer does whatever it takes to save the people and the country that he cares about.
In January, Fox announced that they were reviving the series under the title 24: Legacy. Kiefer Sutherland has confirmed that he will not be reprising his role as Jack Bauer — but a similar format, where each season comprises one crucial day for a Counter Terrorist Unit — will be employed. Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) and Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings) are both signed onto the project.
8. Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988) had a ludicrous premise: a man is kidnapped by mad scientists and forced to watch B-movies, so he creates robots to help come up with commentary in order to keep his sanity. However, premise aside, the result was a truly ridiculous and laugh-out-loud comedy riffing on absolutely strange science fiction movies. Each episode features the complete footage of a different B-movie, but the commentary provided makes each episode an adventure of its own.
Amazingly, a successful crowdsourcing campaign has made the reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 possible – over $6 million dollars was raised to make a fourteen episode season. Patton Oswalt, Felicia Day, and comedian Jonah Ray have all signed on to star, and a number of actors and comedians have expressed interest in being involved in the project.
7. Celebrity Deathmatch
Celebrity Deathmatch (1998) was everyone’s favorite claymation show, where animated versions of celebrities murdered each other in a bizarre wrestling parody. Past gruesome and deadly fights included Charles Manson vs. Marilyn Manson, the Backstreet Boys vs. NSYNC (featuring Satan), Ben Affleck vs. Matt Damon, and Busta Rhymes vs. William Shakespeare. No one — from historical figures, politicians, movie stars, tabloid queens, and musical icons — was spared the dangers of the ring.
The show was previously briefly revived in 2006, and a new reboot has been greenlit by MTV as of 2016. In the past decade, a whole new group of celebrities have emerged that would create a wonderful cast of competitors for the revival. We can’t wait to find out what happens to Justin Bieber and Kanye West.
6. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) — if you don’t know the story that is explained in the theme song — is about a teenager (Will Smith) from West Philadelphia who goes to live with his well-to-do aunt and uncle in Bel-Air, Los Angeles.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot is apparently in the works with Will Smith as one of its producers. It is not at this time affiliated with any network, and is in the early stages of development, so it’s unclear when – or if – we will get a new Fresh Prince. One of the other producers has stated, however, that he does not even think of the project as being a reboot, and so it may be that the rumors surrounding the production of some television show that is linked to Fresh Prince became conflated.
With its catchy theme music and wacky cast of characters, DuckTales (1987) told the story of fabulously wealthy Scrooge McDuck and his grand-nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. After his grand-nephews are placed into his care, Scrooge and the boys need to learn how to sort out their differences, and often end up going on adventures or needing to protect Scrooge’s massive wealth from various intruders and burglars.
DuckTales is a classic Disney cartoon that is beloved by children growing up in the eighties and nineties. The new series is set to air on Disney XD in 2017. An image of the new show, released on Twitter in March, shows Scrooge McDuck driving a jeep with his nephews through the jungle — there are spears sticking out of the jeep, and a screaming Donald Duck hangs on for dear life. The whole family is along for the ride to upcoming adventures, a reassuring sight if we’ve ever seen one.
Roots (1977) was a mini-series based on the book Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The series told the story of Africans who were kidnapped and sold into slavery in America, and followed the lives of their ancestors all the way through antebellum America. The saga was not only wildly popular, but also was praised by critics. It was nominated for thirty-seven Emmy awards, winning nine.
Roots (2016) is being remade as a mini-series that is set to air on the History channel on Memorial Day. LeVar Burton, who starred in the original Roots as Kunta Kinte, serves as one of the executive producers of the revival, which will star Laurence Fishburne, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and relative newcomer Malachi Kirby in the starring role.
3. Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls (2000) was a heartwarming comedy that centered on the lives of Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her daughter, Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) in the fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hollow. The story explores their strong relationship with each other, as well as their relationships with others, from friends to romantic interests to their other family members.
Gilmore Girls originally aired on The WB, and later on The CW, after a network deal between CBS and Warner Bros. The revival, however, is being produced through and will air on Netflix. Netflix has stated that all four of its new 90-minute episodes will become available before the end of the year. Graham, Bledel, and many other regulars from the original series are reprising their original roles, including Melissa McCarthy.
2. Twin Peaks
The utterly charming and bizarre Twin Peaks (1990) gathered a cult-following during its short-lived run on television. After the body of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) is discovered, Special Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) comes to the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington, to find her murderer. That synopsis — or perhaps any synopsis — fails to capture the show’s quirky aesthetic or strange characters. It’s simply something you have to see to believe.
After a very long hiatus, Twin Peaks is returning to television in 2017 on Showtime — with both MacLachlan and Lee returning to portray their characters and some incredibly intriguing new talent being brought along for the ride. The original co-creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, are also tied to the project. Since Laura Palmer uttered, “I’ll see you again in 25 years,” it feels almost eerie that the show is coming back… If anyone could have planned that, it would be Lynch and Frost.
1. Star Trek
Star Trek (1966) needs no introduction. The explorations of Captain Kirk and his crew grew to be a cultural phenomenon and spawned a number of subsequent television shows, movies, and other material. Most recently, Star Trek‘s original series has been rebooted as a series of blockbuster films, the third entry to which is due out in July.
Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, American Gods, Pushing Daisies, Heroes – but when it was good in the first season) is one of the most dynamic, innovative, and just plain interesting television showrunners currently in the business. Fuller, who began his work as a writer for Deep Space Nine (1993) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995), is no stranger to the Star Trek universe.
By bringing Star Trek back to its original medium, Fuller’s television show — which has been described as a reboot, but may be an extension of Star Trek‘s many series — there is great potential to riff, play, and expand upon the original source material.
Which of these shows are you most excited about? Are there any other television revivals on the horizons that you think should have been included? Tell us in the comments!
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